Monday, February 22, 2016

Still Time to Sign Up

There is still time to sign up for the B'ney Yosef North American Summit.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wolves Among the Sheep

Have you ever wondered about the following expression found in Scripture, “Wolves dressed up in sheep's clothing.”?  I have been pondering this for some time. Let's examine 2 passages from Scripture.

Matthew 7:15 "“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. " 16 "By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? " 17 "Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. " 18 "A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. " 19 "Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. " 20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them. " (emphases added)

Acts 20:28 Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of Messiah Y'shua which he purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know that after my departure, vicious wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Men will arise from among your own selves, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, remembering that for a period of three years I didn’t cease to admonish everyone night and day with tears. 32 Now, brothers, I entrust you to Elohim, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build up, and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver, or gold, or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands served my necessities, and those who were with me. 35 In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Master Y'shua, that he himself said, "‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"” (emphases added)

First, doesn't the expression "wolves in sheep's clothing”  create quite an image? Just from this imagery alone, we see a predator disguised as a sheep! Since he is a predator, he doesn't answer to the Shepherd. The wolf answers to our enemy ha satan. So why this examination of the wolf? We are at war and in any battle we need to discern the motives of the enemy and what he is trying to do. A good soldier knows this and that is why a military strategist will spend hours dissecting the enemy's motives and strategies. So have we identified a strategy yet? Yes, as we've identified a wolf does not answer to our great Shepherd Y'shua.  Therefore, his goal is to undermine the sheep's precious relationship with our Messiah. Second, they are false prophets hiding among the sheep with appetite's seeking to devour the non-discerning. Another verse can lend more insight, “For the whole Torah is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another.” (Galatians 5:15) So could spiritual entities hide in the sheep as wolves? So if we don't remove them, they will manifest toward brothers or sisters attempting to consume relationships by planting discord among the brethren. I think we are getting an interesting picture.

Finally let's discuss the Acts previously quoted which will assist us to complete the picture. Paul's exhortation in Acts 20 warns that vicious wolves will come in and will not spare the flock. They will be among us speaking perverse things. Don't these evil entities speak perversely to each of us in our daily battle against the prince of the power of the air? We must remember our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).  In the Acts 20 passage, it appears that these wolves also operate in a spirit of covetousness.   Paul's context explains how he has not coveted anyone's material possessions.  We can conclude that Paul is giving warning that this spirit is a taker (craving to please self) and not a giver.  

We are at war. These ravenous wolves are in us! They have disguised themselves by taking up residence in sheep. We must remove them.  We cannot remove them in anyone else, but ourselves.  I pray that your eyes are open to who the enemy is and that you will eradicate his influence over your lives. I will end this with an exhortation from Paul to Timothy.

No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier. Also, if anyone competes in athletics, he isn’t crowned unless he has competed by the rules. The farmers who labor must be the first to get a share of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Master give you understanding in all things. II Timothy 2:4-7

Be strong and fight the good fight!

Tzefanyah ben Yochanon

Chazak Chazak v'nitchazek
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us
strengthen (encourage) one another!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Bones are Alive!! A People is Forming!!

We have now finished our second Bney Yosef National Shabbat here in North Georgia. All I can say is that Yosef is not dead. The bones have sinews and there is breath in them. Abba is forming an exceedingly great army in our day!! How can I say this when there was only 40 some people gathered for this Shabbat? First, the prophets have been pointing that this restoration may soon be in our day.

 Hoshea 1:9-10: “Call his name Lo-Ammi; for you are not my people, and I will not be yours. 10 Yet the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which can’t be measured nor numbered; and it will come to pass that, in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living Elohim.’ (emphases added)

I spoke to a brother at the end of this past Shabbat, a musically gifted young man and this is what he said to me, “I had an amazing time! I heard the music and a saw the dancing and I realized that I have a heritage. A heritage that I am very blessed to be a part of.”  You see an awakening is happening. It is time to come away from our congregational mindset and realize that Abba is birthing a national mindset that we have a heritage and we are a people!

After the Bney Yosef National Congress in Ariel, Israel, YHWH put in motion the need to begin to move past the theologies and doctrines that only cause enmity and strife and to move to the place of national restoration which produces the fruit of humility and love for our fellow Yisraelite. So you see the army is forming in our day! People are connecting one to another who normally would not connect with each other. Relationships are being formed via the vehicle of national identity. Consider meditating on this for awhile. Sons of Yosef, our national identity is our survival!

Psalm 133 leads us to this inspiring revelation:
See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that came down on the edge of his robes; 3 like the dew of Hermon, that comes down on the hills of Zion: for there YHWH commands the blessing, even life forever more. (emphases added)

Our national identity is our vehicle for unity. It will yield precious oil that produces life! Our heritage as the Sons of Yosef (Northern Yisrael) is our common unity. The Shabbat, the Festivals, and the Torah is the very fabric of our heritage. My brothers and sisters, be encouraged and do not lose heart. For our Father is orchestrating the restoration of the people of Yisrael in our day.

Love and blessings to all Yisrael,

Tzefanyah ben Yochanon
Chazak Chazak v'nitchazek
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us strengthen (encourage) one another!

Monday, March 23, 2015

An Incredible Dream

An Incredible Dream

An incredible dream @ 2 AM EST, March 23, 2015.

First I am going share the events of the day that lead up to this dream. An awesome friendship has developed with a friend who owns a kosher deli in Miami, FL. He catered our wedding. He is orthodox. In 2003, before Reyyna and I got married I was employed at a job that was right around the corner from a kosher deli. Abba has pointed out that the reason I was employed at that job (an educational consulting service) was to create the circumstances to where I would meet Yisrael, the owner of the kosher deli. Yisrael is a sabra (from Yisrael). As our friendship blossomed whenever I would visit the deli for lunch or to bring something home, Yisrael would speak out, “Shevet achim gam yachad,” to me. This is what I wrote in a blog in May 2009 entitled a “Prophetic Friendship”:

This past Pesach I purchased lamb from Yisrael. I paid for it in advance and he agreed to deliver it to our home. I needed to call him later and make final arrangements. I called one evening and before discussing lamb, Yisrael spoke with me and said, “Tzefanyah, people don't understand that “shevet achim gam yachad” is everything! If we only knew this, the whole world would be transformed.”

Within a few days, Yisrael delivered the lamb to our home. We are renting a room from a brother named Obed. He wanted to meet Yisrael and, therefore, came outside the house with me to greet him. When Yisrael was about to leave, Obed reached to give him a hug. Yisrael responded, “Yes, I like hugs.” I then gave him a hug too. We left that evening in the warm embrace of “shevet achim gam yachad.”

I pray that all of the children of Yisrael will discern and understand the message in this prophetic friendship.

Fast forward Aviv (Nisan) 1 2015 (March 22, 2015). It has been a long time since I had talked to Yisrael on the phone. Reyyna felted a prompting from the Ruach Hakodesh that I should call him that morning.

It was quite an awesome conversation. Yisrael said that he had been thinking of me often. I reminded him of the conversation in 2009. Yisrael remembered and said to me, “I want you to know something Tzefanyah, you are my brother.”

Fast forward later that afternoon, I went to a kosher market in Atlanta and it was abundantly clear that we were treated as goy from a "religious" perspective. I need not say anything more about the experience. Nobody was nasty.  We were not treated as family.  There were other details, but sharing them would accomplish nothing.

Fast forward early A.M. I had the most amazing dream. Reyyna and I were in the same area as this kosher market. Nearby, we discovered a butcher shop with a very unique name which I cannot remember though in my minds eye I see the name written at the top of the shop. The butcher shop did not have kosher certification on it, but the woman behind the counter was clearly orthodox. She was dressed very modestly with her hair covered. A conversation developed with her about why they (she and her husband) did not have a “kosher” stamp on their shop from the rabinate. She had also attended yeshiva for rabbinical ordination. As a family they believed that women also should be embraced to bring insight into Torah just as much as men. She explained at how they embraced non-Jews to their detriment (as far as relations with rabinate were concerned). She said that as far as their meat is concerned that you cannot get a more kosher meat. She and her husband owned a farm. She explained that her husband did his own slaughering following all the proper ancient slaughtering methods believed to be used in the Tenach since our father Avraham. She also said that more Orthodox Jews are beginning to change and are now regular customers at their shop despite the lack of a “kosher” seal.

We continued to talk and she “knew” who we were and was very excited and happy to meet us. She wanted us to wait around because her husband was out on errands and would be back soon. She said when he arrives that she was going to say something to him in Hebrew that she said would not need translating. Well, a moment in time passed and her husband would be arriving shortly. As he walked through the door his wife said to him in absolutely the most beautiful Hebrew, “Our brother Yoseph is not dead, but alive!” An incredible moment happened at that time. She came from behind the counter to join her husband.  We had the most amazing family hug. Tears were streaming down our faces. There was an amazing love flowing in that place!!! Incredible, absolutely incredible.

In the dream I remembered talking to Yisrael early in the day. I realized then that “shevet achim gam yachad” is beyond space and time. It is an amazingly incredible explosive dynamic that no man can fabricate. It comes from above and transforms the very heart and soul of our people, the people of Yisrael.

Brachot v'ahava kol Yisrael,

Tzefanyah Ben Yochanon

Chazak Chazak v'nitchazek
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us
strengthen (encourage) one another!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Zionism: The Act of Living and Breathing

Zionism. What is it? Zionism is a modern movement which began in the 19th century. But its roots date back to the Bible. It represents an age-old longing of the Jewish people to reconstitute itself as a sovereign nation in its ancient land. (see definition on the website). I am going to change the definition ever so slightly. Zionism is a modern movement which began in the 19th century. But its roots date back to the Bible. It represents an age old longing of all the people of Yisrael to constitute itself as a sovereign nation in its ancient land. (emphasis added)

A Heavenly Initiative

We hear terms like Secular Zionism and Biblical Zionism. However, can Zionism be separated out into different definitions? If its roots are in the Bible, can we make a distinction? May I suggest that the word Zionism alone is appropriate? In fact, I will also suggest that modern Zionism is simply an outgrowth of an ancient longing of all Yisraelites to return to their ancestral homeland. Who moved these individuals and why? The Elohim of Avraham, Yitzhaak, and Yaacov was the driving force behind it all. The modern fathers of Zionism such as Theodore Hertzl, Chaim Weizmann, Vladamir Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion were all moved by Elohim. Whether they were disconnected or not with the God of Yisrael does not matter. Elohim lit the fire to return to Eretz Yisrael.

Preservation as A People

Yesheyahu/Isaiah 10: 20 It will come to pass in that day that the remnant of Yisrael, and those who have escaped from the house of Jacob will no more again lean on him who struck them, but shall lean on the YHWH, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 A remnant will return, even the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people, Yisrael, are like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For Adonai, YHWH of Hosts, will make a full end, and that determined, in the midst of all the earth. 24 Therefore Adonai, YHWH of Hosts, says “My people who dwell in Zion, don’t be afraid of the Assyrian, though he strike you with the rod, and lift up his staff against you, as Egypt did. 25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation against you will be accomplished, and my anger will be directed to his destruction.” (emphasis added)

The fervor of Zionism hit Theodore Hertzl while witnessing the Dreyfus affair. This event in France caused Hertzl to realize that a homeland for the Jewish people was the only solution to centuries long hatred throughout the world. For those who are not familiar with the Dreyfus affair, Alfred Dreyfus was an obscure captain in the French army. In 1894 papers discovered in a wastebasket in the office of a German military attaché made it appear that a French military officer was providing secret information to the German government.  Though the handwriting of these papers did not even match the handwriting of Dreyfus, he was charged with treason. This was another example of Jewish hatred throughout Europe; blame the Jew. Without a shred of evidence Dreyfus was found guilty of treason. It wasn't until 1906 that Dreyfus was finally exonerated of charges and set free. Twelve years of imprisonment all because of Jewish hatred. Hertzl and our later Zionist fathers realized that we should no longer lean on those who are striking us. The prophet Yesheyahu all along spoke of the day of others who would see that we can no longer lean on those striking us. Zionism is the very preservation of our people.

Yeheskel/Ezekiel 37:4 Again he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and tell them, you dry bones, hear the YHWH’s word. 5 Thus says Adonai Elohim to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am YHWH 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I saw, and, behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and tell the wind, Thus says Adonai Elohim: Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Yisrael: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. 12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, Thus says Adonai Elohim: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into Eretz-Yisrael. (emphasis added)

Let me propose to you another definition of Zionism. Zionism is the act of living and breathing. If we remain satisfied in our graves (the nations), we will cease to live and breath. We will die as a people. Elohim built Zionism into us for our preservation. I know I am not the only one, but since it was declared that the first Zionist Congress for Bney Yoseph was going to happen; I have experienced an amazing energy that has charged my very being. An energy which is Zionism, the act of living and breathing.

Am Yisrael Chai,

Tzefanyah Ben Yochanon -- 
Chazak Chazak v'nitchazek
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us
strengthen (encourage) one another!